Directed & Directed by George VanBuskirk
Starring: Dana Delany, Andrew McCarthy, Caroline London, Will Denton, and Jesse Eisenberg
At the end of every summer, the children of a Christian community from a suburb of New Jersey attend Camp Hope. They travel deep into the woods far from any distractions the world provides. Here, the children are taught the ways of the Lord, the perils of the flesh, and the horror of the Devil. A charismatic priest leads them in their training. But, he unknowingly has brought something with him, something evil. What was supposed to be a safe place, a spiritual retreat has now turned into a nightmare that not even faith can end. Written by American Film Market
Originally titled Camp Hope.
Ah, “well-meaning”, but militant Christians – one of my biggest hot button issues. Religious leaders in a position of power over our youth that push the Christian agenda by any means necessary is nothing more than disgusting mind control set to the tune of God’s love. I know God, and I know this isn’t how he operates. A heady opening for a movie review, but I’ve known and heard of these kind of people since I’ve been attending church. This is a step down from Kevin Smith’s Red State. The religious aren’t murdering anyone in this film except for the psyches and self-worth of the kids they subjugate their will upon. When the leader ripped up one camper’s copy of Spawn #9, I got up on my soapbox. Regardless, enjoy this film with the mindset that not all entertainment is inherently evil.
Religion and horror are my favorite mashup. Religion, with all its supernatural and evil history, provides the perfect backdrop for horror. While we’re treated to great characters like the Firefly Family, Leatherface, and Freddy Kruger, no antagonist can ever truly top Satan. Talk about a seriously good and evil origin story.
This movie is filmed and acted very well, unfortunately, the plot is about as loose as it could possibly be. Kids conflicted with their choice in Catholicism slowly drift away from their convictions while some sort of real evil is coming down upon the camp. An overbearing Christian father sends his kid to camp where Catholics slam the kids with one of their most effective tenets – guilt for feeling the struggle of being a human. Somehow Jesse’s character is in a mental institution for trying to kill himself and his sister, and in all five minutes of his screen time, we have no way to correctly asses his situation. There’s some sexual tension, a counselor punches a kid, out of nowhere some demonic mist forms on the ceiling of the chapel, attacks the priest and then he’s in a coma. Kids decide they don’t want to follow their parents’ spiritual beliefs any longer – the end. Seriously, that’s the movie. There’s a couple of nice religion-themed scenes, but other than that, there is no reason whatsoever to see the movie. Call me a stickler, but if I can’t get three separate acts or at least a beginning, middle and end – consider your movie shit. Go to mass, drink some wine, judge someone, but avoid this like leprosy. Worst Fister rating possible.